There can only be two real reasons to owning a website, selling or sharing. Obviously, this is quite a bold statement to make, but hear me out. Information banks like Wikipedia, social media sites, music sites like Grooveshark and even some personal websites all share their knowledge or services to other sites, many in the hope that users will pass this knowledge on and thus drive visits to said site.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have shopping sites, such as eBay or Play.com, and professional sites that offer a premium paid service or product. Both these types of sites survive and indeed thrive on people visiting and interacting with their content. With this in mind, it should be clear that doing all you can to maximize conversions through your website is a very important tactic to carry out. This is essentially the bottom line of conversion rate optimization (CRO); testing various designs and features on individual pages to discover the ideal structure for optimized conversions.
Most often, users aren’t even aware that CRO is happening on the sites they visit. It can be anything from the subtlest of changes, such as editing the wording of the text slightly, to a drastic overhaul in the design; but although optimizing a site’s conversion rates is a tough challenge, the potential increase in the conversions from your visitors is well worth the struggle.
In fact, you’d probably be surprised to find out how many places are carrying out CRO already, both online and offline. Big supermarkets don’t just move their products around to mess with your head, they’re likely to have to a dedicated team of consumer analysts who study you shopping habits throughout their store and change product locations accordingly. The same goes for shopping sites such as Play.com, you’ll notice that their product pages are displayed in a way that allows you to search for other items, discover lots about the item and suggests relevant alternatives. All of this is designed to promote CRO.
Altering and running different builds of your website may seem like an expensive and lengthy process, and whilst it may take a long time to get right. Proper CRO can result in seeing massive returns on all your hard work, as long as the data you collect is recorded properly so that you can analyze it efficiently and understand what you need to change (or not change as may be the case). With this in mind, outlined below are some top techniques to carry out on your site this year to help achieve CRO:
I’m not talking about having a live service desk available on your site to aid with peoples queries (you’ve got Twitter for that), instead, I mean using a personalized voice when writing copy for your site. Google’s updates have already done great work in ensuring that sites need to contain quality content to thrive, and what better way to connect with your audience than actually talk to them. Shopping sites have been doing this for years with personalized recommendations (but even they still have quite a way to go). You don’t have to get too personal, but speaking and writing like a human, and not a faceless brand, is fast becoming a brilliant way to drive CRO on your site.
It should be an obvious point, yet plenty of sites out there sacrifice quality content for design, and they will suffer for it in terms of SEO and conversion rates. Take a long hard look at your site. Is there plenty of spacing in-between the copy, do the colors clash, does your banner image take up too much room, is your font readable and is it instantly clear what your site’s purpose is? You should be constantly asking yourself questions like these when looking toward CRO.
Although there are plenty of exciting gadgets and display options you can apply to your site, you’ll find that the more successful sites embrace the white space and use it so that their content can be displayed on a clear and uncrowded site. Ensuring that the banner image isn’t oversized and constricting the heading text of your site is also vital to both SEO and CRO. It’s common knowledge that Google pays most of its attention to the content towards the top of your site, so ensuring your header text is displayed at the top and describes your sites purpose properly is a necessity.
This was an overused keyword in 2018 and it’s likely to be used just as much this year, but there’s a very good reason behind this. Last year was the year for mobile browsing, and 2019 will see the fallout of the tablet boom resulting in more people browsing on mobile platforms than on laptops or PCs. If you don’t already test your sites responsive design on various platforms then I’m sorry, but you seriously need to play catch up.
It’s not just about ensuring your site can be accessed properly on every platform either, it’s about your site is optimized on every platform. People behave differently depending on which device they use, so carrying out different CRO tests for each version of your site is vital. At the moment there’s no perfect formula for CRO, but testing various versions of your site, across mobiles tablet and desktops, and properly recording how users respond to them, will give you a much deeper understanding of their behavior.